“How natural,” returned Eloise. “That is the wonderful part of it.”
A REALIZED HOPE
One afternoon Mr. Evringham did not return from the city at the usual time. Jewel, watching for him, was surprised after a while to see him walking up from the gate.
“Why, what’s happened?” she asked. “Zeke went for you.”
“Yes; but he found he had to leave Dick to be shod.”
“Then are you going to saddle Essex Maid yourself? Oh, can I see you do it, grandpa?” She hopped with anticipation.
“I don’t know that I’ll ride just now. It’s an excellent day for walking. It seems rather strange to me, Jewel, that you’ve never shown me the Ravine of Happiness. You talk a good deal about it.”
“Oh, would you like to come?” cried the child, flushing. “Good! I have the pond all fixed in Anna Belle’s garden, and the ferns droop over it just like a fairy story.”
“Have you put up a sign for the fairies to keep out?”
“No—o,” returned Jewel, drawing in her chin and smiling.
“Oh well, you may be sure they’re at it, then, every moonlight night. They haven’t a particle of respect, you know, for anything. If I were in Anna Belle’s place, I should put up a sign, ‘Private Grounds.’”
“Oh, she’s so unselfish she wouldn’t. If they only won’t break the flowers she won’t care,” returned the child, entering into the fancy with zest.
Mr. Evringham took the doll from her arms, and carrying it up the steps deposited it in the piazza chair.
“Isn’t she going?” asked Jewel soberly.
“No, not this time. She doesn’t care, she’s been there so much. Just see how cheerful and comfortable she looks!”
There was, indeed, a smile of almost cloying sweetness on Anna Belle’s countenance, and she seemed to be seeing pleasing visions.
“I never saw such a good child!” said Jewel with an admiring sigh; then she put her hand in her grandfather’s and they strolled out into the park and up the shady road. Just before reaching the bend around which lay the gorge, Mr. Evringham surprised his companion by breaking in upon her lively chatter with a tune which he whistled loudly.
It was such an unusual ebullition that Jewel looked up at him. “Why, grandpa, I never heard you whistle before,” she said.
“You didn’t? That’s because you never before saw me out on a lark. I tell you, I’m a gay one when I get started,” and forthwith there burst again from his lips a gay refrain, that sounded shrilly up the leafy path. They rounded the bend in the road, and the broker looked down into the eyes that were bent upon him in admiration.
“You whistle almost as well as Mr. Bonnell,” said the child.
“Give me time and I dare say I shall beat him out,” was the swaggering response. “Ah, here’s your ravine, is it?”